Why Small Business Donít Have A Website
There are many reasons why a small business does not have their own website. Listed below are the major reasons why I believe they don't have their own website.
1. Owners don't understand the marketing power of the internet
2. They think it will cost too much money to build and maintain a website
3. They don't have the skills or time to develop a website on their own
4. No one has ever visited them to discuss building a website for their business
All of these are important, but I believe the key is educating the customer regarding the importance and power of what a website can do for their business. This article will focus on the importance of visiting your potential client at their place of business.
To educate the business owner you must have a face-to-face conversation. Most website design companies don't have a marketing plan for calling on small businesses. They believe that people will find their own company on the internet and contact them. This is a serious mistake and potential lost revenue for a small website design company.
It is essential for any small website design company that wants to attract the small business owner to visit the owners business at their location. Owners of small business have a very tight operating margin and do not have large marketing budgets, if they have one at all.
So what can a small website design and hosting company do to attract customers?
We will make the assumption that the website design company already has a website, has the ability to design websites, and has established their presence on the internet. With that assumption in hand, now they must decide how to attract their own new customers.
So how do they do that?
1. Design a brochure to market your website design services. Make sure the brochure is easy to read, in color, and has your email address and phone number.
2. Get some business cards. Again, make sure these are in color and have your own website address and contact information.
3. Buy a small digital recorder that you carry with you everywhere you go.
Once you have armed yourself with these 3 important tools you are ready. Get in your vehicle and start driving around town. As you are driving around town keep a keen eye out for small businesses, such as; dry cleaners, bakeries, auto repair shops, consignment shops, small restaurants, etc. When you spot one that looks like it might be a potential client, record the name of the business, address, and phone number on your recorder.
Now when you get back to your business start searching for all the information you find on the businesses you just recorded. See if they have a website, how long they have been in business, are they a member of the Better Business Bureau and/or the Chamber of Commerce, who is the owner, do they have any reviews, etc. Garner as much information as can about the business. If they have a website, take a look at it and see where they rank on the search engines by using some key words. Once you have done all the research you are ready to call on the business.
For the purposes of this article we will assume the business you found does not have a website.
Now how do you proceed?
You can either decide to do a cold call on the business or call the business and set up an appointment. It is my personal preference to cold call on the business. Of course the owner may not be at the business when you stop by. Don't worry, you can leave your information and come back another time. And for goodness sake don't stop by a business in casual attire. Be professional. You don't have to wear a coat and tie, but do not walk into any business wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Remember, first impressions are lasting.
Don't forget to take your laptop with you and make sure you have access to the internet. Most small businesses don't have Wi-Fi, so you need to be able to access the internet. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and being able to show the owner what you can do and some of the websites you have developed for other customers is a great selling point. I prefer to take a small mini laptop. They are easy to carry, small, and very portable. I do not recommend taking some large big screen laptop into the business. Make sure your laptop is charged up, and ready to load your information. I prefer going to the internet and showing the owners other websites my company has developed. You could also do a small PowerPoint presentation, but I find that is not as effective as websites.
If your research provides you with important information about their business, make sure you use this in your conversations. Most owners will be impressed that you know something about their business.
Now you have to sell the owner on the benefits of having their own website. Talk to them in non-technical terms. Most of them don't have a clue what flash or HTML means, what a URL is, or what a domain name means. Don't spend all day trying to sell your services. My suggestion is that you spend no more than 15-25 minutes at the business. Any longer and you might wear out your welcome. You probably won't make a sale at this point. Owners want to think over what you have explained to them before they decide to spend their hard earned cash on something they really don't understand.
Before you leave the business make sure you thank the owner, leave your brochure and business card, and make a mental note to follow up this meeting with a phone call. Make sure you do this even if the owner tells you they are not interested.
You are going to get a lot of "No thank you, we are not interested". Don't despair, this is part of what sales is all about. You may do this 20 times for every new client you get. Well, that is one new client you didn't have before.
Now what else can you do to get more business?
Always carry your business card and brochures with you where ever you go. When you are eating at a restaurant, having a drink at the bar, dropping your laundry off at the cleaners, picking up your shoes from the repair shop, hand your card to the person who is assisting you. Talk to them for about 2 minutes and give them your card. Business cards are cheap, and you never know who they know or what leads might come your way.
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